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UK-SVG Friendship Trust uses Penny Bank to channel volcano relief

UK-SVG Friendship Trust uses Penny Bank to channel volcano relief
Chairman of trustees Cenio Lewis

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The UK-SVG Friendship Trust has teamed up with the St. Vincent Co-operative Bank Limited as its local partner to assure the framework for the disbursement of its EC$ 800,000 La Soufriere Volcanic Eruption Recovery Assistance Programme.

The UK based charity has engaged the bank due to its long-standing commitment to the country as one of the oldest indigenous banks, the organisation stated in a release.

The “Penny Bank” with its strong roots in local communities will act to ensure that all funds spent locally are accounted for and that the programme delivers for its intended beneficiaries.

The UK-SVG friends is comprised of over 7000 donors in the UK. Collectively, they have so far contributed more than £250,000 in a campaign launched on the GoFundMe platform which was supported by the SVG High Commission. The Fund will have three components: (1) A specific sum to be transferred to the Government’s volcanic relief fund; (2) A portion to be reserved for assisting persons who were evacuated and are returning home on advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and (3) Purchase of items for immediate needs for those in shelters and those staying with families or friends.

According to Chairman of trustees Cenio Lewis, “the funding framework for the programme is to provide for the relief of hardship by persons directly impacted and displaced by La Soufriere Volcanic eruption, particularly those evacuated from the red zone. The Trust is especially concerned about the plight of women, girls, and persons living with disabilities, and those who are otherwise at high risk.”

Lewis further indicated that “as far as practicable, the Trust intends to directly procure food and personal care items in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to boost the local economy, with particular attention to small enterprises. Given the double challenge of dampened economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now the eruption of the Soufriere volcano, we wish to do our part to keep the economy afloat as we respond to individuals in most need.”

Executive Director of the St. Vincent Cooperative Bank Albert Porter, has welcomed the partnership stating that “this is an interesting time in the country’s history and the bank is pleased to be playing a pivotal role in helping to bring people back on their feet in partnership with the UK-SVG Friendship Trust. The bank stands in solidarity with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and will help to rebuild the nation in whatever way possible”.

Porter also highlighted that “The St. Vincent Co-operative Bank Limited is known as the people’s bank because of its good track record of accountability, trust and a people centric focus. It is because of this we can forge these types of partnerships to ensure that those who are most in need have access to the help they deserve”.

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